Grainger (NYSE: GWW), Chicago, on Wednesday reported 2020 sales increased 2.7% — or 3.5% on an organic basis — to $11.8 billion, while the company’s profit decreased 18.1% to $695 million for the year.
“2020 was a year filled with challenges and uncertainty,” said DG Macpherson, Grainger’s chairman and CEO. “I’m proud of how the Grainger team made quick, prudent decisions to best serve our customers, keep our employees safe, and remain in a strong financial position. In both the full-year and fourth quarter 2020, despite the challenges of the pandemic, we delivered solid top-line growth by gaining significant share in the U.S. and delivering impressive growth in our endless assortment businesses. In addition, we managed SG&A spending below the prior year while continuing to generate significant operating cash flow. In 2020, we demonstrated our ability to deliver in tough economic times and expect business performance will improve sequentially as the virus subsides throughout the year. We remain confident in our strategy and excited about 2021 and beyond.”
Grainger reported fourth-quarter sales of $2.9 billion, up 3.3% compared to the year-ago quarter, or 5.6% on an organic daily basis compared to the fourth quarter 2019 (excluding divestitures and foreign exchange).
Grainger’s profit increased 63% to $168 million, while diluted earnings per share of $3.12 were up from $1.88 in 4Q 2019 and missed analysts’ estimates by 75 cents.
Daily sales for the quarter increased 5.6% as compared to the 2019 fourth quarter. Sales increases were fueled by share gains in the U.S. segment and significant growth in the endless assortment businesses which more than offset declines in the Canada segment.